Christmas 2011 is in the rearview mirror and 2012 is here (thought I'd better post in case anyone is wondering if I'm still around.)
As our tree is officially down as of yesterday (our second day home since before Christmas and the first day home with the boys back to school and work) I am clinging to keeping the Spirit of the Season going ... along with the hope for some snow at some point this winter, by keeping out the Snowman light. (No, we STILL do not have any snow here in Iowa ... and they had very little of it in Northern Minnesota where we just returned from. Very odd winter.)
Actually, with the tummy problems I had this Fall right up until Christmas, I failed to put up any more than just our tree. The railing lights and greenery, the snowmen and other decorations didn't see the light of 2011!
Now that I'm feeling better (praise God!) I just feel sad that so much didn't get done. The cards weren't sent (YET that is ... don't give up as I still hope to send "New Year Cards", the decorations were minimal, the cookies and candies weren't baked and I will never see 8, 6 and 3 from the eyes of my children again during a Christmas Season. But hopefully the Spirit was still there in other ways. I am SO glad that for the first time EVER our family of 5 enjoyed a Christmas-Eve-Eve celebration together instead of rushing to this side of the family or that side to celebrate the season or birthdays. We simply had a nice ham supper together, opened gifts throughout the day, finished packing and doing last minute errands all before visiting the grandmas and aunts and uncles and relatives. It's SO special to have enjoyed it as a FAMILY instead of preparing for a month and then rushing through and feeling like we've just checked things off our list without really enjoying the time. I treasure that part of this year most I think. Time spent together and not rushed. I am learning (slowly) that so many things do not happen the way we may envision them unfolding. And the best way to accept that is to be a bit fluid in expectations ... and generous in the Grace granted to others when they don't achieve the high bar we may have unknowingly set out for things. God then has a way of flowing that Grace back onto me, and goodness knows I need it.
We once again spent 8+ days traveling to MN for the holidays. Although exciting to travel and a blessing for the kids to visit family ... it is a long journey as anyone with kids knows, especially when rules become fuzzy and routine is gone ... (and I'm not talking about the candy/sugar allotment here. That went pretty much unrestricted, however I'm sure I consumed way more than they did!) But, whatever, I'm glad that is not the normal reality and I know that we are ALL glad to be home and appreciate the normalcy when it returns.
I'm happy to say that the flu did NOT get us down this holiday (that makes 2 years in 9 of having kids in case you are counting.) Although we ALMOST remained puke free during our travels it did not totally escape us. Brayden and Easton made Nolan laugh so hard one afternoon during a car ride back from town that he threw up all over himself and the truck. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr ...
Perhaps they learned a lesson ... other than the fact that mom's threat that THEY were cleaning it up went unfulfilled.
I gave MYSELF a timeout after that episode (of course after cleaning it up.)
Oh yes, and the DOG barfed all over grandma's 5 foot runner after eating a fresh-killed animal while out on the lake. (I'm not sure what it is, I thought it was an opossum, but I'm now thinking a muskrat? Goodness knows it wasn't well chewed and I should have been able to identify it before AND after said incident.) I guess I go into "auto-mode" when cleaning gerf up so often ... and I just try not to look.
So, with that I was inspired to pen a rough-draft Christmas Card:
"May it be a joyous Christmas for you and your family.
May you not laugh so hard that you gerf ... and may your dog not overindulge on fresh 'possum in the New Year."
Ya, keep an eye out for the REAL card sometime before Easter ;-)